Trains from Heathrow Airport
Two train lines -the newest Elisabeth Line and Heathrow Express- link London Heathrow Airport to many parts of London. Departing from all terminals, the two rail routes are highly appreciated by passengers wishing to travel fast and affordably to their destination in London.
The Newer Heathrow to London Train: Elisabeth Line
Elisabeth Line officially started running in May 2022, connecting LHR to Central and East London. Verily, Elisabeth Line calls at all Heathrow terminals, heading downtown, to East London, Essex, and Reading. The train may leave from the London Underground Stations, yet it also runs on the surface.
The Timetables of Elisabeth Line
Elisabeth Line departs from the subway station lying between terminals 2 and 3. Passengers landing at T2 or T3 should use the pedestrian walkway to the station. It is actually a 10-minute walk away. The T4 Subway Station is to be found below the Arrivals level, and the T5 Station is on the Underground terminal’s level.
Trains leave from the T2/T3 Station from 05:21 am (05:54 am on Sundays) to 00:12 am, whereas Elisabeth Line departs from T4 from 05:30 am (06:03 on Sundays) to 11:47 pm. Last but not least, trains run from T5 Station from 05:15 am (05:49 am on Sundays) to 00:07 am.
As far as their frequency is concerned, trains leave from T5 heading to Shenfield every 30 minutes, while there are 4 available routes per hour departing from T4 and traveling to Abbey Wood. On the other hand, Elisabeth Line runs every 15 minutes from T2/T3 to Abbey Wood and almost every half an hour to Shenfield.
Fares and Tickets of Elisabeth Line
London’s public transit system is divided into 9 zones. Heathrow Airport is in Zone 6, whereas all the central districts are in Zones 1 and 2. Thus, a ticket from Heathrow Airport to downtown (Zone 1) costs from 12.20£/14.10/15$ (to Paddington Station) to 13.30£/15.40€/16.40$ (to Liverpool Street), no matter the day or the time.
Fares for London’s public transit system vary depending on the time of the day. Thus, from Monday to Friday, rides during peak hours (06:30 am to 09:30 am and 04:00 pm to 07:00 pm) are more expensive than traveling during off-peak hours or weekends.
You’ll have various options in your hands when it comes to payment methods. As a matter of fact, many travelers find the payment alternatives just “too many” and often complicated. Overall, you can pay for the train from Heathrow Airport using contactless payment, a Transport for London Oyster Card, a Travelcard, or via a paper ticket. Contactless payments and Oyster Cards are the lowest-cost solutions. In detail:
- Paper Tickets
You can buy an “old-time-classic” ticket from the ticket machines or the ticket offices lying in the terminals’ rail stations. Ticket offices are open from 05:00 am to around midnight. Please note that this is the most expensive option for your travel.
- Oyster Cards
Transport for London Oyster Cards is one of the most popular payment methods for London’s public transit modes among Londoners. They are valid for the subway, bus, some of the National Rail routes, tram, DLR, London’s Overground, Elizabeth Line, and even for the Cloud Cable Car and the Thames Clippers River Bus. They are rechargeable smart cards, costing 7£/8.10€/8.65$, which can be topped up with cash or Travelcards. That’s their main advantage.
Transport for London Oyster Cards have to be touched in and out at the yellow card readers once entering the station and before leaving the destination point. Moreover, Oyster Cards aren’t personal. Therefore, they can be used by multiple passengers, yet not simultaneously. Hence, only one passenger can touch in the Oyster Card per journey. Moreover, children under 11 years of age can travel for free (four children per paying adult), whereas kids between 11 and 15 can get a discount on their Oyster Card (you can ask the station’s personnel to add the discount).
Please note that Oyster Cards aren’t valid for rides west of West Drayton.
The “pay as you go” system is the simplest way to travel around London with an Oyster Card. Thus, Oyster Cards have cap limits, meaning that your card can be charged up to a maximum fare for a day’s journey, depending on the traveling zones, the duration of the rides, and the time of the day (peak hours ≠ off-peak hours). Hence, once reaching the “daily cap”, all other public rides are out of charge. The 24-hour period of time starts at 04:30 am (to 04:29 am). That’s the reason why it is crucial to always touch out your Oyster Card even if the gates are open. Otherwise, you will be charged the maximum fare.
Oyster Cards can be bought at the Ticket Stops located at the airport, the automatic machines or the ticket offices of the train station, or the T2/T3 Visitor Center (open from 09:00 am to 04:30 pm only on weekdays).
- London Travelcards
Travelcards are paper tickets, that allow unlimited rides with all modes of public transit. Furthermore, they provide a 33% discount on the Thames Clippers River Bus. However, they are divided into two types: those valid for rides within Zones 1-4 and the ones that can be used for Zones 1-6. Moreover, you can pick a 1, 2, or 3-day Travelcard. The cost of a 24-hour Travelcard for Zones 1-6 is 15.20£/17.60€/18.80$. Since London Heathrow Airport is located in Zone 6, you’ll have to buy a Travelcard for Zones 1-6. Travelcards can’t be bought at the airport but must be purchased from the VisitBritain Shop before arriving in London. After completing the purchase, the Travelcard will be mailed to you, added to the postal fees. The main perk of Travelcards is the fact that they can be topped up to Oyster Cards. Thus, you can fully exploit the benefits of your Travelcard, while in case you want to travel to another zone than the ones covered by the Travelcard, you can use the Oyster Card to do so.
- Visitor Oyster Cards
The Visitor Oyster Cards are rechargeable cards that can be loaded with money but not with Travelcards. Moreover, they can’t be bought at Heathrow but must be pre-ordered online and sent to your address (postal fees may raise the final price). You’ll have to pay 5£/5.80€/6.20$ to get the card. Visitor Oyster Cards can be used in all public transit modes. Additionally, they offer discounts to several sites, restaurants, and shops. They are priced from 15£/17.40€/18.60$ (for an actual credit of 10£/11.60€/12.40$ minus the 5£/5.80€/6.20$ fee) to 55£/63.70€/68$ (with an actual credit of 50£/58€/62$).
For a 2-day stay in London, it is advisable to top up the card with 15£/17.40€/18.60$, whereas, for a 4-day stay, 30£/34.80€/37.20$ should be enough.
They also charge based on the “pay as you go” system. Thus, they automatically charge you the best fare. Moreover, you’ll have to touch them in and out before entering the Heathrow airport train and before leaving the alighting station.
Travelcard or Visitor Oyster Card? It depends on the duration of your journey in London and on how much you are going to use the modes of public transit. Overall, Travelcards are preferable for unlimited rides during 24 hours, whereas for longer stays, Visitor Oyster Cards are a more value-for-money option.
- Contactless Payments
Contactless payments are widely used for paying the Elizabeth Line’s fare. Hence, you can use any type of device or bank card to touch in and out. However, you should always keep in mind that the same device must be used for both touching in and out. Otherwise, you’ll be charged the maximum fare.
The Heathrow Express Train
Heathrow Express is the fast and cheap train linking London Heathrow Airport to London. The cars of Heathrow Express have designated luggage space and are equipped with onboard TV services, 4G Wi-Fi, and power outlets.
The Heathrow Express Train travels from LHR Airport to Paddington Station from 05:20 am to midnight. The Heathrow to London trains depart only from the T2/T3 Rail Station and the Train Station located on Level -1 of T5. Passengers arriving at T4 can use the free shuttle buses to reach the T2/T3 Station. Their frequency ranges from 15 minutes to 30 minutes (after 10:00 pm). The Heathrow airport train needs 15 minutes to reach its terminus from the T2/T3 Station and 21 minutes from T5.
A single ticket for the Heathrow airport train costs 25£/29€/31$ if bought on the spot (37£/42.90€/45.80$ for return journeys). Nevertheless, early-in-advance bookings offer much lower prices. Thus, you can pre-book a ticket priced as much as 5.50£/6.40€/6.80$. In any case, children younger than 15 travel for free. All in all, tickets can be purchased online, through the Heathrow Express app, at the LHR Arrivals areas, and at the T2/T3 and T5 Stations. Please note that Oyster Cards (although daily caps don’t apply for rides with Heathrow Express) and contactless payments are also accepted for rides with Heathrow Express. Thus, you should remember to touch in and out before leaving Paddington Station.
Is there a train at Heathrow Airport?
Two Heathrow airport train lines link LHR to London. The Elizabeth Line departs from all terminals heading to Shenfield and Abbey Wood, whereas Heathrow Express connects T2/T3 and T5 to Paddington Station.
Is Elizabeth Line cheaper than Heathrow Express?
Elisabeth Line needs 26 minutes to reach Paddington Station while costing 12.20£/14.10/15$ no matter the time of the day. On the other hand, Heathrow Express travels to Paddington in just 15 minutes and is priced at 5.50£/6.40€/6.80$ if booked well in advance. Nevertheless, Heathrow Express will undoubtedly be the most expensive Heathrow airport train if you are planning on buying your ticket at the airport. Verily, a one-way ticket purchased on the spot costs 25£/29€/31$.
How do I pay for Heathrow Express train?
You can book your Heathrow airport train tickets online or through the relevant app (in-advance bookings are always cheaper) or buy your ticket at the terminals’ Arrivals and the T2/T3 and T5 Stations. Alternatively, contactless payments are also accepted, as well as Transport for London Oyster Cards.